Kerr County Veterans Service Office

The Kerr County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) is responsible for assisting military veterans, their family members and their survivors who reside in Kerr County with information regarding the legal benefits available to them under federal and state laws.

The Veterans Service Officer reports to the Kerr County Commissioners' Court, and performs duties under the technical guidelines established by the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) and federal law under C.F.R. 38.

There is no charge for our services.

This office does not adjudicate claims.

550 Earl Garrett Street, Suite 107
Kerrville, Texas 78028
Phone: 830-792-2203
Fax: 830-792-2204
 

Days of Operation:
Mondays - Thursdays, Walk-ins accepted but appointments have priority
CLOSED Fridays 

Memorial Day Program

Monday, May 27, 2024

Celebrating our nation's fallen heroes will be the 2024 Kerr County Memorial Day Program on Monday, May 27, on the courthouse grounds in Kerrville, 700 Main Street.

To view the full program, click HERE.

To read the story about this year's program, click HERE.

*** NEWS ***

Veterans, public invited to May 24 ribbon cutting ceremony to open new Veterans' Pathway

Veterans and the public, in general are all invited to a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, May 24, to officially open the newly completed Veterans' Pathway.

The paved, wide and wheelchair-accessible sidewalk establishes pedestrian access from the Kerrville VA Medical Center, across the improved intersection at TX-27 and either down into the county-owned Flat Rock Park or along Riverside Drive for those wishing to connect to the Kerrville River Trail.

The ribbon cutting will be held where the trailhead emerges in Flat Rock Park near the boat ramp.

To read about how the idea for the Veterans' Pathway took off and how it came to become a beautiful reality that veterans and others can now enjoy, read the full story in Kerr County News HERE.

Vetspathwayforweb 1715991439

***** MORE VETERANS' NEWS *****

The Kerr County Veterans Service Office keeps area military veterans up to date on the latest things that have an impact on their lives.

View the News blog (HERE) on the Kerr County website frequently for stories. The most recent to be posted are linked below:

Veterans Service Officers 'At the Ready' to Help

Each Kerr County VSO (Veterans Service Officer) is accredited by the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).

  • Jennifer Sanchez, VSO, U.S. Air Force (Retired)

  • Chase Allsup, Assistant VSO, U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)

  • Marty Mistretta, VSO, U.S. Air Force Reserves (Currently on Active Duty Orders)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to check your VA claim, appeal, or decision review status online

+-

Follow our step-by-step instructions for checking the status of your VA claim, appeal, or decision review online.

Step-by-step instructions

1. If you're not signed in to VA.gov, sign in now, starting with step 1. You can sign in with your DS Logon, My HealtheVet, or ID.me account. If you don't have an account, we’ll prompt you to create one.

If you're already signed in to VA.gov, you can skip to step 4 below. You'll go straight to the claim status tool.

2. Choose how you want to receive your authentication code

You can choose to get either a text message or a phone call.

3. Enter the authentication code you received

This is the 6-digit code we sent to your phone.

4. Go to the claim status tool

After you’ve signed in, find the list of Disability links on the VA.gov home page. Click Check your claim or appeal status.

5. Review your claims, appeals, and decision reviews

You can review the date each one was last updated, the current status, and the date you submitted it. Click the View details button to see more details.

6. Review the status of a claim

You’ll see where it is in the process.

7. Review the files for your claim

Click on the Files tab. You can see if there are any forms or documents we still need from you. You can also review the forms and documents we already have. And if you have additional evidence to support your claim, click the Add Files button to select files to upload.

8. Review the details of your claim

Click on the Details tab to see what you've claimed, who your representative is for VA claims, and other details.

Check your VA claim status

What is a VA Form 21-22?

+-

A VA Form 21-22 is known as an Appointment of Individual as Claimant's Representative form. It will be used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). This form is necessary to recognize someone as a representative of a veteran who has a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This form is required to be completed before we are able to assist.

What is a VA Form 21-0966?

+-

VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC An intent to file (ITF) can be sent to VA even though a claimant is not yet prepared to apply. This is done to 'lock-in a date' while we are gathering supporting evidence to include in application. This will give us 11 months and 29 days to gather all the information that we need to submit with the claim.  (Not saying it will take this long, but, that is how long the VA will give us once the VA Form 21-0966 has been submitted)

Who do I contact if I am at risk of becoming homeless?

+-

Please call the references below:

  • VA Social Worker, Cynthia Pino at 830-896-2020 #12235 Kerrville VA Medical Center Room 244

  • Endeavors - 210-431-6466

  • Salvation Army Shelter - 830-257-3620
    - Check in is no earlier than 6 p.m. and no one is admitted after 9:30 p.m. No one can remain at shelter during daytime
    7-night limit per 60 days

  • National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.

What happens if a Veteran becomes incarcerated?

+-

Our office does not assist Veterans while they are incarcerated. You can contact our Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Justice Involved Veteran Claims Coordinator, Greg Holland. His mailing address is: Greg Holland TVC, P.O. Box 769 Temple, TX 76503. Phone Number: 737-247-0325 and/or email: gregory.holland@tvc.texas.gov.

What Items are needed for a strong VA claim?

+-
  • Current medical diagnosis from :Medical Doctor, Surgeon, Primary Care Provider (PCP), Psychologist, etc.

  • Chronic condition: defined as persisting, long term or recurring.

  • Link back to active duty service.

What items/information should be brought when filing an initial VA claim?

+-
  • All DD214(s) "Member 4" (original or certified copy), for all periods of active service

  • Service Treatment Records, paper copy or CD. Do not surrender last/only copy.

  • Civilian Treatment Records, paper copy or CD. Do not surrender last/only copy.

  • Direct deposit account number, routing number and full name of bank institution.

[Please have information ready/on hand before sitting down with our office) You can also email them to our office as well.

*Please note: Kerr County VSO Office cannot make copies. We will not keep copies of your documents, we will scan and return them to you

How can I add new condition(s) or increase (%) to an already Service-Connected (SC) Disability?

+-
  • Bring last VA rating decision letter(s)

  • New medical diagnosis and condition(s)

  • Proof condition(s) has/have deteriorated and/or worsened

  • Name and location of medical facility/doctor who diagnosed/treated the condition.

What is a supplemental claim?

+-

In order to file a Supplemental Claim, (usually when the VA has previously denied your claim) you must add evidence that is new (or not provided to VA previously) and relevant to your case. You can file a Supplemental Claim anytime, but it is recommend you file within one year from the date on your decision letter.

What’s “new and relevant” evidence?

  • New means that the VA didn’t have this evidence before their last decision.

  • Relevant means that it can prove or disprove something in your claim.

You can submit evidence yourself or ask the VA to get evidence for you. Evidence could include medical records from a VA medical center, another federal health facility, or your private health care provider.

The VA can’t accept your Supplemental Claim without new and relevant evidence.

What if I disagree with the VA's decision and want to appeal?

+-
  • Last VA rating decision letter(s).

  • New medical diagnosis to counter or dispute the VA’s decision.

  • Prepared (written or typed) statement to clarify why the VA’s decision is wrong.

  • Prepared (written or typed) statement to clarify why the VA’s decision is a mistake.

What is a NEXUS letter?

+-

A “nexus” is a link or connection between two or more things. Thus, the purpose of a NEXUS letter is to clearly connect a Veteran's current medical condition to another service-connected condition or to circumstances directly related to military service.

NEXUS letters are letters from a Veteran’s current physician(s) stating their medical opinion regarding the service-connection of a veteran’s condition(s).

NEXUS letters are essential for any condition on a VA Disability Claim that is not automatically considered service-connected because

1.) there is ample evidence that it occurred during the veteran’s service or

2.) it is on the VA Presumptive List.

What is a "buddy" letter?

+-

A VA buddy letter is simply a credible statement in support of a claim, written by a competent individual 18 years of age or older, who has direct, first-hand knowledge of an event or injury, and offers an account of what they witnessed or are witnessing in support of a veterans VA disability claim.

These personal statements can be from a fellow service member, spouse, friend, pastor, co-worker, boss, adult child, or any other competent and credible witness.

A buddy letter can be the linchpin to winning your VA disability claim.

Why?

Because a buddy statement constitutes “lay evidence” under the law, which simply means “after the fact” evidence.

The Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) at the VA MUST consider a buddy letter because it’s considered a secondary source of evidence in support of your VA disability claim.

Listed below is a 4 parts that should be included in the VA buddy letter:

Part 1: How do you know the Veteran?

In part 1, you need to explain how you know the Veteran.

Part 2: What you witnessed or are witnessing.

In part 2, you need to explain in detail what you witnessed or are witnessing in regard to the event or incident.

You do NOT need to explain every detail.

Part 3: The Veterans’ current symptoms of the disability.

In part 3, you need to explain the veteran’s current symptoms of the disability.

Again, you do NOT need to explain every detail, just the things you know about.

Part 4: Sign and date your name to the best of your knowledge and belief.

In part 4, you need to sign and date your name and add the following statement:

“I CERTIFY THAT the statements on this form are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

What additional documents can help support my VA claim?

+-
  • Statements from service medical personnel

  • Certified “buddy” statements or affidavits from fellow service members who witnessed your injury or illness

  • Military accident and police reports

  • Examination reports related to employment or insurance

  • Letters or photographs from your time in the service

  • Prescription records

  • Photocopies of any service treatment records or medical reports from any private hospitals, clinics, or doctors who treated you during service or shortly after separation

What items/documents are needed if applying for Survivors Benefits, Death Benefits, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

+-
  • Veteran's last VA rating decision letter(s)

  • Veteran's DD214 Military Discharge document

  • Marriage license or certificate

  • Death certificate

  • Funeral and burial costs and receipts (only needed if the payee is NOT the surviving spouse or if applying for transportation costs).

  • Direct deposit account number, routing number, and full name of institution.

  • Proof of current income and assets (in case we need to do a surviving spouse pension).

  • Dependent child information (if under the age of 23 or declared a helpless child).

How do I file for dependent(s)?

+-

Items/documents needed to send to the VA:

  • Children/Dependent(s) names, birth date, place of birth and Social Security Number (SSN).

  • Spouse/ ALL Ex-spouse(s) (for Veteran) date of birth, SSN, date and place of marriage/divorce.

  • Spouse/ ALL Ex-spouse(s) (for current spouse of Veteran) previous marriages, former spouse(s) full name(s).

Filing for Dependent Child (age 18-23) in High School or College:

  • College age child (18-23) proof of school attendance from school admissions/registrar.

  • Have college age child’s full name, social security number and date of birth.

Note: If you have a 10-20% disability rating, you won’t receive a higher rate even if you have a dependent spouse, child or parent.

How to Request Civilian or Private Treatment Records?

+-

You have three options:

1. Bring the name and mailing address of the treating doctor/hospital along with dates of treatment and the treated condition(s), and we will submit a request on behalf of you to the medical provider - if we do not receive them within 30 days, we will send a follow-up request

2. Go to the treating doctors or hospital and pick up a copy of the relevant records yourself and bring them to us. Remember most offices destroy medical records after five years if you are not a regular patient.

3. We can complete a VA Form 21-4142, Authorization to disclose information to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and a VA Form 21-4142A, General Release for medical provider information to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This will ask the VA to obtain the records for you. (This is the LONG way.)

How do I change my direct deposit information with the VA?

+-
  • Call 1-877-838-2778.

  • Have the amount of the last deposit ($) on hand along with new bank institution name, accounting number, and routing number.

What is VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance?

+-

VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits provide monthly payments added to the amount of a monthly VA pension for qualified Veterans and survivors. If you need help with daily activities, or you’re housebound, find out if you qualify.

Click here for more information.

What are the Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues?

+-

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you meet all of these requirements.

Both of these must be true:

  • You served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 through December 1987, and

  • You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge when you separated from the military

And you must have a diagnosis of one or more of these presumptive conditions:

  • Adult leukemia

  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Bladder cancer

  • Kidney cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Parkinson’s disease

Who’s covered?

  • Veterans

  • Reservists

  • Guardsmen

What are the Agent Orange (AO) presumptives?

+-

You may be eligible for VA disability benefits if you meet both of these requirements.

 Both of these must be true:

  •  You have an illness that’s caused by exposure to Agent Orange, and

  • You served in a location that exposed you to Agent Orange

 Cancers caused by Agent Orange (AO):

  • Bladder cancer: A type of cancer that affects the bladder where urine is stored before it leaves the body. The most common type of bladder cancer starts in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. This is called urothelial or transitional cell carcinoma.

  • Chronic B-cell leukemia: A type of cancer that affects white blood cells. These are cells in the body’s immune system that help to fight off illnesses and infections.

  • Hodgkin’s disease: A type of malignant lymphoma (cancer) that causes the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen to grow progressively larger. It also causes red blood cells to decrease more and more over time (called anemia).

  • Multiple myeloma: A type of cancer that affects the plasma cells. These are a type of white blood cells made in the bone marrow that help to fight infection.

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue. These are parts of the immune system that help to fight infection and illness.

  • Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate and one of the most common cancers among men

  • Respiratory cancers (including lung cancer): Cancers of the organs involved in breathing. These include cancers of the lungs, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.

  • Some soft tissue sarcomas: A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues. We don’t include osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma on our list of presumptive diseases.

Other illnesses caused by Agent Orange exposure:

  • AL amyloidosis: A rare illness that happens when an abnormal protein (called amyloid) enters the body’s tissues or organs. These include the organs like the heart, kidneys, or liver.

  • Chloracne (or other types of acneiform disease like it): A skin condition that happens soon after exposure to chemicals. It looks like common forms of acne often seen in teenagers. Under our rating regulations, this condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.

  • Diabetes mellitus type 2: An illness that happens when the body can’t respond to the hormone insulin the way it should. This leads to high blood sugar levels.

  • Hypothyroidism: A condition that causes the thyroid gland to not produce enough of certain important hormones. Hypothyroidism can cause health problems like obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.

  • Ischemic heart disease: A type of heart disease that happens when the heart doesn’t get enough blood. This leads to chest pain.

  • Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement—and often worsens over time. The nervous system is the network of nerves and fibers that send messages between the brain and spinal cord and other areas of the body.

  • Peripheral neuropathy, early onset: An illness of the nervous system that causes numbness, tingling, and motor (or muscle) weakness. Under our rating regulations, this condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.

  • Porphyria cutanea tarda: A rare illness that can make the liver stop working the way it should. It can also cause the skin to thin and blister when exposed to the sun. Under our rating regulations, this condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.

https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/

Based on the PACT Act, the VA has added 2 new Agent Orange presumptive conditions:

  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension)

  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)

They've also added these 5 new locations to the list of presumptive locations:

  • Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976 

  • Laos from December 1, 1965, through September 30, 1969

  • Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969

  • Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off of Guam or American Samoa from January 9, 1962, through July 30, 1980

  • Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977

If you served on active duty in any of these locations, the VA will automatically assume (or “presume”) that you had exposure to Agent Orange.

Click here for more information

What burn pit and other toxic exposure conditions are now presumptives?

+-

The VA has added more than 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act. This change expands benefits for Gulf War era and post-9/11 Veterans.

These cancers are now presumptive:

  • Brain cancer

  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type

  • Glioblastoma

  • Head cancer of any type

  • Kidney cancer

  • Lymphatic cancer of any type

  • Lymphoma of any type

  • Melanoma

  • Neck cancer

  • Pancreatic cancer

  • Reproductive cancer of any type

  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type

These illnesses are now presumptive:

  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service

  • Chronic bronchitis

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Chronic rhinitis

  • Chronic sinusitis

  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis

  • Emphysema

  • Granulomatous disease

  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)

  • Pleuritis

  • Pulmonary fibrosis

  • Sarcoidosis

Click here for more information.

How do I know if I have a presumptive exposure to burn pits?

+-

If you served in any of these locations and time periods, the VA has determined that you had exposure to burn pits or other toxins. They call this having a presumption of exposure.

On or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations:

  • Afghanistan

  • Djibouti

  • Egypt

  • Jordan

  • Lebanon

  • Syria

  • Uzbekistan

  • Yemen

  • The airspace above any of these locations

On or after August 2, 1990, in any of these locations:

  • Bahrain

  • Iraq

  • Kuwait

  • Oman

  • Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Somalia

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • The airspace above any of these locations

Click here for more information.

How does the VA Combine Percentages?

+-

If you have more than one condition, the VA will combine percentages to determine your overall disability rating. The percentages assigned for each of your conditions may not always add up to your combined rating evaluation. The following website has additional information about how VA combines percentages:

http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp#howcalc.

You can also watch this video, which will provide a simple step by step example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyB1YdKfhSk

Were my records destroyed in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) fire in St. Louis?

+-

Your records may have been destroyed in the fire if you were discharged from either:

  • The Army between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. The fire destroyed 80% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Army during this time period. The fire didn't involve records for retirees and Reservists who were alive on July 12, 1973.

  • Or the Air Force between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964. The fire destroyed 75% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Air Force during this time period with surnames beginning with “Hubbard” and running through the end of the alphabet.

I was affected by the 1973 National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) Fire, how can I get the records I need to support my VA disability compensation claim?

+-

Fill out the National Archives request for information form

You'll need to fill out a Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data (NA Form 13055). The VA will use this form as their request to the NPRC to reconstruct your records.

Please give as much information as you can about your assignments during service, including any of these that apply to you:

  • Unit

  • Company

  • Battalion

  • Regiment

  • Squadron

  • Group

  • Wing

Download NA Form 13055

What happens after my claim is submitted to the VA?

+-

The next step is you should start receiving letters from the VA:

  • Stating that they have received your application and

  • Your application is pending and they are processing it.

You will then receive appointments for you to be evaluated for your claims.

  • This may be numerous appointments.

  • You do NOT want to miss any of these appointments.

  • If for some reason you cannot keep an appointment that the VA has set up for you, there will be a number for you to call. Please ensure to call that number immediately, as well as letting our office know.

  • If you have an appointment and feel like the doctor did not give you an evaluation, please call the number that was listed on your evaluation letter and let our office know immediately.

After all of your exams have been completed:

The VA Regional Office will review all the evidence in your file, assign your disability rating, and send you a decision notice (a letter letting you know your disability rating).

Each claim is different, but it usually takes us about 5 to 6 months to process a claim from start to finish. The processing time for your claim depends on how complex your claim is and how many conditions you’ve claimed.

When you receive a letter from the VA, please ensure to let us know This is for us to ensure that the VA is not requesting additional information and if they are, that we guarantee those documents/information is sent to them in a timely manner.

*NOTE: NOT all claims are processed the same - some may take longer than others

What is a C&P exam?

+-

After you file your disability benefits claim, the VA may ask you to have a claim exam (also known as a compensation and pension, or C&P, exam).

This exam will help the VA rate your disability. Your rating will be based on how severe your disability is—and will affect how much disability compensation you’ll receive. Compensation may include things like monthly payments and enrollment in the VA health care program.

QTC, LHI and VES are the three contractors that the VA utilizes to schedule exams for Veterans who have a claim pending with the VA. We will not be able to view when your exams have been scheduled.

Please ensure you do NOT miss any scheduled appointments. If you go to an appointment and feel that you have not been properly evaluated, please immediately call the VA Regional Office at 800-827-1000.

What is an ACE Exam?

+-

An ACE Exam is a C&P Exam performed by an electronic “records only” review.

Instead of scheduling a Veteran for an in-person or telehealth exam, C&P examiners have the option to complete the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) based on review of existing electronic medical evidence (and other submitted documents) only. 

The examiner has the option to conduct a phone interview with the Veteran —sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

Can the VA Reduce Your Disability Benefits?

+-

When the VA gives you a service-connected (SC) disability rating, it retains the right to reexamine you to determine if your disability is still present and warrants the original rating. The VA can increase, reduce or terminate your disability compensation based on its reexamination. But, not every Veteran’s disability rating is scheduled for a reexamination, and not every rating will change.

Why the VA Reexamines Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability Rating?

+-

Not all medical conditions are permanent. Some injuries heal over time. The VA wants to ensure they are compensating you for your injuries at an appropriate rate.

When the VA assigns you a disability rating, it will also determine if your condition needs to be reexamined in the future. This typically only happens for injuries with a reasonable expectation of improving over time.

When Can the VA Reevaluate, Terminate or Lower Your Disability Benefits?

+-

Re-examinations are usually scheduled within two to five years after the initial examinations, or they can take place any time there is material evidence of your change of condition. This could be evidence that your situation has improved or disappeared.

Are you a Veteran having difficulty accessing VA health care services?

+-

You can contact the local Patient Advocate at the Kerrville VA Medical Center:

Mary (Terry) Garza, Patient Advocate
South Texas Veterans Health Care System
Office: 830-792-2494 or Cell: 830-377-6846

A second option, is our Texas Veterans Health Care Advocacy team acts on the Veterans behalf as a liaison between veterans and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to resolve access issues involving VA health care related services such as:

  • Enrollment / Eligibility

  • Appointments

  • VA billing issues

  • Prescription / Pharmacy assistance

  • Care in the Community / MISSION Act assistance

  • MRIs. X-rays, or lab tests

  • Other VA health care issues

If you need assistance, please send an email to: healthcare@tvc.texas.gov

What is the Texas Hazlewood Act?

+-

Below explains the differences between the three Hazlewood programs and layout the requirements for each.

Hazlewood (Veteran)

150 hours of tuition exemption at a State of Texas Institution

To qualify the Veteran must meet all of the following requirements:

1. Enlisted or Commissioned in the State of Texas and/or had Texas as their home of record at the time of initial entry

2. Served over 180 days on active duty, not including initial training (note that drill weekends and annual training for reservists do not count)

3. Have a discharge rating of honorable or general under honorable conditions

4. Have exhausted or expired their federal Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits (also called Chapter 33)

5. Be currently residing in Texas (an exemption is made for those out of the state/country on their own or their spouse’s active duty orders)

6. Not be in default of an education loan granted by the State of Texas.

Hazlewood Legacy

150 hours of tuition exemption to be shared among all eligible children and the Veteran

For the Veteran to transfer eligibility to their child all of the following must be met

1. The Veteran must qualify in their own right

2. The child must reside in Texas

3. The child cannot be over the age of 26

4. The child cannot be in default of an education loan granted by the State of Texas

5. The child must remain in good academic standing with the university

6. The child cannot have remaining Post 9/11 benefits that were transferred to them by their Veteran parent (note the Veteran can still have their own federal benefits remaining)

Hazlewood Dependent

150 hours of tuition exemption for all children and the spouse of a 100% Permanently and Totally Disabled Veteran

For the child or spouse to qualify all of the following must be met:

1. The Veteran must have Enlisted or Commissioned in the State of Texas and/or had Texas as their home of record at the time of initial entry

2. The Veteran must have a discharge rating of honorable or general under honorable conditions

3. The child or spouse must be residing in the State of Texas

4. The child or spouse cannot be using Chapter 33 Post 9/11 Benefits or the Fry Scholarship

5. The child or spouse cannot be in default of an education loan granted by the State of Texas

To recap, the differences between the three types are that the Hazlewood (Veteran) is only for the Veteran, Hazlewood Legacy is for children of Veterans and must be shared among all eligible recipients, and Hazlewood Dependent is for the children and spouse of permanently disabled Veterans and is used independently of each recipient.

For more information, please contact the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Education Office.

Where can I find the federal benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors Booklet?

+-

You can find both of the following booklets:

1. Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors

2. VA Welcome Kit

By clicking on the link below:

https://www.va.gov/getstarted/

Where can I find State and Burial Benefits?

+-

Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) updates the State Benefits Booklet to better serve Texas veterans and educate them on the services and benefits they earned.

On this page, you will find the following:

  • TVC Programs Brochure

  • State Benefits

  • Mental Health Brochure

  • Burial Benefits

https://www.tvc.texas.gov/informational-materials/

What is Veterans Assistance (V.A.) Dogs of Texas?

+-

For more than 7 years, Veterans Assistance (V.A.) Dogs of Texas has provided trained service dogs to assist the lives of disabled veterans living across Texas. These veterans are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and physical disabilities.

They believe that our veterans deserve to enjoy little things like being out in public, partaking in events that tend to gather large crowds, and fireworks.

Through their experience, they have come to find service dogs can provide tremendous relief to veterans who have learned to avoid “normal” situations and also need help with tasks like:

• Pulling a wheelchair

• Picking up (Retrieving) items

• Help to get up if you’ve fallen

• Providing a “Brace” to stand, or sit

• And many other tasks

Due to their expansion, they are on a fast track to producing more trained dogs than in previous years, allowing them to serve more veterans.

You can find more information, by clicking here.

What is Together With Hill County Veterans (TWHCV)?

+-

Together With Hill Country Veterans (TWHCV) is a community-based suicide prevention program for rural Veterans. TWHCV involves partnering with rural Veterans and their communities to implement community-based suicide prevention.

Their office address is 411 Meadowview Ln Kerrville TX 78028. You can contact them at (830) 315-5012. Please click here for more information.

What are the Federal and State benefits for Veterans in the State of Texas?

+-

*Eligibility is based on Discharge & VA Disability Rating

100% PERMANENT & TOTAL – COMPENSATION or IU

  • FULL MEDICAL BENEFIT eligibility

  • Waiver of national service Life Insurance premiums

  • Tax-Free Student Loan forgiveness (filed through the Department of Education)

  • 100% Service Connected Disabled or Individual Unemployability (IU)

  • Dental Treatment

  • TOTAL EXEMPTION FROM PROPERTY TAXES (Texas Benefit - for homestead residence)

70% Service-Connected Disabled

  • Property Tax exemption for first $12,000 (Texas Benefit)

60% Service-Connected Disabled

  • Free TX Driver’s License (with rating & Honorable Discharge)

  • Free TX State Park Admission (w/ TPWD passport)

50% Service-Connected Disabled (if retired, eligibility for Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay - CRDP)

  • VHA Healthcare Priority Group 1

  • Property Tax exemption for first $10,000 (Texas Benefit)

  • Free TX Hunting & Fishing License Package

  • Special license plates: $3 fee for first plates, regular price for additional vehicle (Texas Benefit)

40% Service-Connected Disabled (due to an amputation of a lower extremity)

  • Specialized (DV) license plates: $3 fee for first plates, regular price for additional vehicle (Texas Benefit)

30% Service-Connected Disabled

  • Property Tax exemption for first $7,500 (Texas Benefit)

  • Dependents considered for compensation purposes and payment calculations

  • Non-Competitive Federal Employment (NCE) eligibility

  • Mileage reimbursement for VA Medical appointments

10% Service-Connected Disabled

  • Medical care for rated disability/(ies) at no charge, Co-Pay for non-related prescriptions and Dr. visits

  • Hearing aids/glasses provided at no fee, no charge

  • Property Tax exemption for first $5,000 (Texas Benefit)

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Counseling eligibility [Title 38, Chapter 31]

  • Clothing Allowance for SC prosthetic devices (see 38 C.F.R §3.810 for guidance)

  • Veterans preference on civil service [10%]

0% Service-Connected, Purple Heart Recipients, Former POWs, and Primary Family Caregivers of Veterans

  • Access to Commissary, Military Exchange, and MWR privileges on U.S. military installations (under the Disabled

  • Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018)

ALL VETERANS IN THE STATE OF TEXAS:

  • Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan Guarantee

  • Home Loan guarantee fee exemption

  • Educational assistance under the Hazelwood Program (only applies “IF” initially enlisted within the state of Texas)

  • Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) programs require 90-days of cumulative service, and any discharge other than Dishonorable

  • Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) housing assistance program

  • Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) home improvement program

DEPENDENT BENEFITS

[SPOUSE & CHILD(ren)]: when 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) Disability:

What local food banks are available?

+-

Mondays:

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM)
521 Barnett St.
830-257-4222
2-4 p.m.
Residents can only receive food one time every two weeks
Monthly food fair - call for details

Mustard Seed Ministries @ Light on the Hill
610 Methodist Encampment Rd.
830-315-6104
10-11 a.m.
(limited financial assistance available)

LAST Monday of the month
610 Methodist Encampment Rd.
830-315-6104
10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (arrive early)
San Antonio Food Bank drive-through food distribution at 'Light on the Hill'

Tuesdays:

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM)
521 Barnett St.
830-257-4222
2-4 p.m.
*Residents can only receive food one time every two weeks

Wednesdays:

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM)
521 Barnett St.
830-257-4222
10 a.m.- 12 p.m.
*Residents can only receive food one time every two weeks

Hill Country Veterans Center
411 Meadowview Lane
830-315-3100
2-4 p.m.
Veterans ONLY - must register yearly

St. Vincent de Paul
1145 Broadway
830-896-6898
6-8 p.m.
*limited financial assistance available

Doyle Community Center
110 W. Barnett
830-257-4446
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Doyle Community Residents ONLY

Thursdays:

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM)
521 Barnett St.
830-257-4222
2-4 p.m.
*Residents can only receive food one time every two weeks

Fridays:

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM)
521 Barnett St.
830-257-4222
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
*Residents can only receive food one time every two weeks

Saturdays:

St. Vincent de Paul
1145 Broadway
830-896-6898
9-11 a.m.
*Limited financial assistance available

3rd Saturday of each month
Drive-thru, Pop-Up food distribution
First Presbyterian Church - Kerrville
800 Jefferson Street (Follow the signs)
830-257-3310
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Eligible households include: SNAP, TANF, SSI, NSLP, Medicaid or other food needs

Who can I contact for transportation?

+-
  • Funds are available for free rides (on Alamo Regional Transit vans) for Veterans through Rides 4 TX Heroes: 888 724-8387 or www.TXVeteransNetwork.com For Veterans and spouses

  • Alamo Regional Transit (ART): 866 889-7433 In- town - $2 one way; within the County - $6; One County Over - $8; Two Counties Over - $12

  • Kerr Konnect - Please call their office at 830-31-5377 to put your name on the list. They continue to process membership applications for those on their waiting list.

  • VA Veterans Transportation Services: 210-427-5074
    For rural veterans to get to their VA MEDICAL appointments at San Antonio or Kerrville (or for Community Care referral appointments To set up the Kerrville VA to Audie L Murphy (ALM) shuttle or to arrange "Special Mode Transportation" for Medical Appointments: 830-792-2418

  • Kerrville VA Voluntary Services 210-792-2580 or 830-896-2020, ext. 12580 - limited transportation to Kerrville VA for Medical appointments

What is the Kerrville VA Shuttle Schedule?

+-

Please call Patient Travel Office at 210-617-5300 Ext 15333

Departs Kerrville     and         Arrives At ALM

7:30 a.m.                                 8:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.                               12:15 p.m.

1:00 p.m.                                 2:15 p.m.

3:00 p.m.                                 4:15 p.m.

 ============================================

Departs ALM           and         Arrives at Kerrville

7:30 a.m.                                 8:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.                               12:15 p.m.

1:00 p.m.                                 2:15 p.m.

3:00 p.m.                                 4:15 p.m.

=============================================

Pick up and Drop off Locations

Kerrville – Canteen Entrance

ALM – Outbound Lane Only

except during inclement weather or severity of patient

Who offers free wills or trusts for Veterans?

+-

Legal services, lawyers or programs that offer free wills for Veterans

First, let’s share some of the legal services, lawyers or programs that offer free wills for Veterans. This is if you need more hands-on help throughout the process or if you’re considering a trust or additional plan. Many organizations offer free wills for seniors, but this list refers to free will services for Veterans.

1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration makes financial planning and online will preparation services available at no cost to beneficiaries of service members’ group life insurance, traumatic injury protection, family service members’ group life insurance and Veterans’ group life insurance.

VA also offers free legal service clinics at VA centers throughout the country. You can see a list of these legal service clinics on the VA website. You can also contact your local VA department directly or talk to an outreach specialist at a VA Medical Center.

Click here to fill out a power of attorney form for health care, a legal document that designates who you want to make health care decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to communicate. The document includes a living will section, which allows you to write down your wishes about treatment. Additional information can be found here.

In addition, VA offers the Advance Care Planning via Group Visits (ACP-GV) Program to engage Veterans, their families and caregivers in advance care planning by facilitating a group discussion. The discussion elicits personal experiences and encourages participants to identify a “next step” to take in the process of planning for health care needs. Contact your facility’s ACP-GV site lead official to sign up for a group or to learn more, including when groups are offered

2. Military Pro Bono Project

The Military Pro Bono Project is managed by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP). They accept case referrals on behalf of active-duty military personnel. All guidance from attorneys is offered pro bono, or for free.

3. Protect Our Defenders

For those who have faced discrimination or harassment in the military, Protect Our Defenders offers free legal services, guidance and aid. Protect Our Defenders helps people of all backgrounds with a variety of different needs, and it’s free to reach out for assistance.

4. American Bar Association Veterans Legal Services

The American Bar Association is the federal program that approves lawyers, and they created a program specifically for Veterans to help with a wide range of legal issues. Attorneys from all states volunteer with the ABA to offer legal services for Veterans free of charge. To learn more, visit the Military and Veterans Legal Center on the ABA website.

5. National Veterans Legal Services Program

Next, the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) has worked since 1981 to ensure that the government offers assistance to the nation’s 22 million Veterans. Through individual representation, the NVLSP offers attorney services free of charge for those who qualify. There are also free mentorship and training opportunities for Veterans around legal issues.

6. Veterans Justice Project NYC

For Veterans living in New York City, New York, the Veterans Justice Project provides legal services to low-income military Veterans, service members and their families. Since 2011, they’ve helped over 14,600 Veterans. Their focus is on long-term economic security, including wills and testaments.

7. Stateside Legal

Lastly, Stateside Legal helps military members and their families find legal help on a state level. By indexing the three largest networks of legal aid for families, this comprehensive platform is easy and free to use. Search for legal aid by state, need and specific issue. Because estate planning varies by state, it’s important to find a qualified lawyer or program in your state.

Online Will Makers or Services That Offer Free Wills for Veterans

If you feel confident making a will on your own without a lawyer’s assistance, then it’s time to start making an online will. There are more online will makers than ever before. Some of these are free to all, while others have special discounts for Veterans.

8. Cake Online Wills

First, Cake’s online will tool is one of the best for creating an inexpensive will in just minutes. Created by attorneys and estate planners, Cake makes it easy to design a will to fit your needs from the comfort of your home. Trusted by 40 million people each year, there’s a reason our tools are the most trusted in the end-of-life planning space. Use code THANKSVETS to save $95 on your will, so you only pay $1.

9. FreeWill

Second, one of the most trusted and well-known online will makers is FreeWill. Always free, this simple tool is created by attorneys to make wills more accessible to all. With specific help for guardianship, pet provisions, charitable donations and digital assets, this is a great choice. It’s free to update your will online anytime, and you can quickly download a PDF for your records.

10. GoodTrust

GoodTrust is another provider of attorney-crafted wills and advanced directives. Though their premium membership starts at $96, Veterans are eligible to get access to GoodTrust Premium for 12 months of free estate planning including a will, medical directive, durable financial power of attorney, funeral directive, pet directives, and secure access to everything in a digital vault. You can use code VETERANSDAY2022 at checkout.

11. Do Your Own Will

A less well-known option is Do Your Own Will. This free tool is easy to understand, and it only requires one simple questionnaire. You can add a living will, durable power of attorney, digital agent and more, making this very comprehensive. However, though a good (free) value, it isn’t very customizable if you have more specific needs.

12. Fabric

Fabric is another provider of online wills that offers a free option. With the additional option to purchase a life insurance policy, this can be a good all-in-one solution. There’s a mobile app available if you’d prefer to create a will on your phone instead. Though it’s very black and white in terms of legal provisions, this is a solid choice.

13. VA’s Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance

If you’re a beneficiary of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance through VA, you’re eligible for financial planning and online will preparation for free. This enables beneficiaries to quickly prepare a will from home without using an attorney. You can access these services completely for free online through Financial Point Plus.

What Types of Estate Planning Do Veterans Need?

With that in mind, what specifically do Veterans need to do when it comes to their estate plans? Though this can be difficult to talk about, it’s a necessary way to feel confident about the future. It’s important to keep your family and assets protected no matter what happens.

What specific legal plans should you consider? While the specific documents depend on your situation, needs and family, here are some of the most common ways to protect your assets:

·  Legal will: To begin, the most well-known estate planning document is a legal will. As all military families know, life is unexpected. A will describes who will handle your affairs after death, as well as what happens to your assets.

·  Powers of attorney: Similarly, a power of attorney legal document establishes who is responsible for making business, legal, and financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to handle your own affairs. They might pay your bills, repair your home or sell assets.

·  Guardianship: If you have children, pets or dependents, you need to make sure there’s a plan in place for them. Within your will document, you can name a legal guardian for these dependents if something was to happen to you.

·  Trusts: A trust is similar to a will. It also specifies who gets what when you die. However, this specific legal document protects your assets and property and passes it along quickly. More importantly, it avoids probate court.

·  Living will: A living will includes an advance directive, or a health care planning document. It shares who will make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to make them yourself in case of injury or disability.

·  Life insurance: Lastly, most military Veterans access life insurance benefits through VA. This means there is a payment in place to pay out beneficiaries in case of the Veteran’s death.

Which estate planning documents do you need? It’s worth talking to a lawyer or legal representative to consider your specific situation. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no such thing as being too prepared.

It’s time to create a will

Ultimately, there’s no time like the present to create a legal will. Though you might think this is something that’s only for retirees, everyone benefits from having a will in place. A will is an estate planning document that evolves over time, changing with your needs. No matter your list of assets or family status, it’s never been easier to create a will as a Veteran.

As you can see, there are a number of legal tools, services, and platforms designed to make legal wills simpler for Veterans. It’s important to use the tools available to you, especially since they take Veterans’ unique needs in mind.

https://news.va.gov/111089/13-places-free-wills-trusts-veterans/

Veterans Crisis Line: New Number. Same Support.

By dialing "988" and then pressing "1", you can reach a trained professional from the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL). You could also text "838255" or chat online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat if you prefer.

You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect with the VCL. The VCL is:

  • Confidential

  • Open 24/7, 365 days

  • Free to access

  • A live person on the other end